ROTHERHAM: THE PERFECT STORM – An investigation in to Muslim grooming gangs
I did not intend to publish this, as I could not complete the work I had set out to do, but I have decided instead to write a personal account of an attempt I made to find out how many girls have been groomed, gang-raped, and prostituted by organised gangs in England over the last five years. I do it obviously not to provide ground-breaking statistics – but to contribute to the national discussion on the phenomenon of so-called “Asian” grooming gangs that has been taking place since the publication of the Jay Report in to widespread sexual abuse, gang-rape, and torture of at least 1,400 young girls in the town of Rotherham in Yorkshire.
The first thing to report is that this figure is simply not obtainable by a member of the public, at least not if you hope to be in any way close to accurate. I am not the first to undertake this effort. A similar attempt was made by the office of the Children’s Commissioner in 2012. That investigation also concluded that an accurate figure could not be obtained.
However, in investigating the matter myself, I found widespread and continuing (despite the Jay Report) lack of any coherent recording of or response to organised gang-rape. What stands out particularly is the lack of data held by local authorities, who in almost all cases, kept no numeric data on children under their care who have reported sexual assault or rape. In almost all cases, I was informed that this information could not be provided as it would take authority staff outside of the 18 hour working time they are obliged to perform on freedom of information requests. The reason it would take longer than 18 hours to provide the data, is that it would entail reading separately through the individual files of all children in their care. In other words, even post-Rotherham, most councils are not attempting to separately record sexual assaults on children under their care, or to paint a broader picture of the problem.